[THE INVESTOR] Korean internet giant Naver said on March 2 that it has no immediate plans to jump into the telecom sector, denying market rumors that it plans to roll out mobile services or handsets.
“Naver does not intend to become a mobile services company,” said a Naver spokesperson, declining to be identified. He also did not specify details of the firm’s upcoming new artificial intelligence speakers.
There have been rising speculations that Naver plans to branch out to the new business field, which gained momentum after it announced on March 1 that it would include “provide special category telecom services” as one of its business purposes in its articles of association.
Naver's AI speaker Clover.
“The recent announcement is related to our planned launch of AI speakers that will be fitted with features for mobile communication,” said the Naver official.
A special category telecom services provider does not own a network, but rents lines from an operator to offer services for end users, similar to a mobile virtual network operator, or commonly known as a budget smartphone business here.
Unlike special category telecom services firms, MVNO service providers,often rent whole parts of the necessary network infrastructure -- such as base stations -- from licensed operators.
There are more than 600 special category telecom services firms in Korea, according to the state-run Korea Communications Agency, which requires companies to be registered. Currently, firms across various different sectors are registered in this category.